The Origins of Psychology

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"The Origins of Psychology"
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The philosophers, Plato, Descartes, and Spinoza were the men of vision in their time. Their vision was of a mind that was capable of knowing and understanding the laws of the universe.

These great thinkers lived in an era where the soul was actively discussed, and they held the opinion that the mind was separate from the body, and that it would live on after the death of the body. They further believed that the mind could understand and know intrinsic truths without the use of the senses.

These great philosophical thinkers, and others like Socrates and Aristotle were the primary sources of philosophical studies of the mind before science came calling.

That was all about to change as philosophy and science joined together to produce a child named, psychology.

Francis Bacon, born 1561, was a lawyer and political figure, who was seated in the House of Commons for over 30 years and later the House of Lords. Like many of the leading men of that day, he developed an interest in philosphy and other disciplines in addition to his chosen profession.

Although his personal life was not without controversy, he remained a leading thinker in philosophy and was well versed in the field of scientific methodology.

Empiricists and the founders of modern science, believed that the mind was a blank slate and that all knowledge and ideas developed through the senses and through experiences. That theory stood in stark contrast to the views of philosophy.

Francis Bacon was a theorist and it was he, who, through the use of inductive reasoning, first developed the idea that science prospers through "observation and through experience". That included the study of the mind.

The marriage of the study of science and the study of the mind came about through his efforts and the efforts of others.

After Francis Bacon, John Locke took up the question of philosophy and empiricism in the 1600s. He further developed and expanded theories of the mind and how it acquired or derived knowledge, taking issue with some of Bacon's fundamental ideas.

David Hume was a contemporary of Locke. He adopted Locke's ideas but disputed them on certain points and issues. By questioning and making his own theories and observations, Hume added even more theory to the developing body of study of the mind.

Bacon: use of scientific method, observation and experiment.
Locke: investigate, attempted discovery of origins of knowledge.
Hume: investigated and questioned Locke's principles.

Each of these three philosophers, contributed to the body of knowledge that brought the human mind into the scientific realm.

"The science of psychology developed through the combination of philosophy and biology. The ideas of philosophy and particularly, empiricism, have contributed to the modern theory of learning and understanding ideas and the human mind."

The development of empiricism laid the foundation for the science of psychology of today, and Francis Bacon is known as the father of empiricism.


More about this author: Mona Gallagher

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